In the wake of the massive popularity of its “Resident
Evil” franchise, Capcom has launched a new survival horror
series — “Onimusha.” Where “Resident
Evil” took players into haunted, modern-day environments,
“Onimusha” features a feudal Japanese setting and a
samurai as the main character. Though it carries the series’s
name and many of its characters, the latest installment,
“Onimusha Blade Warriors,” is first and foremost a
fighting game.

TV/New Media Reviews
Do these pants make my ass look big? (Courtesy of Capcom)

The bizarre decision to bring the samurai fighters of a serious
action game into an extremely different genre works on some levels.
The character models are well developed and each fighter possesses
a back story readily known by fans of the series. Gamers can pit
the heroes of the original against the warriors from the sequel,
but does anyone really care to? “Onimusha” is not a
popular enough franchise to warrant such a spin-off, but devout
followers will appreciate its faithfulness to the series’
storyline.

Even if the overall idea of the game seems needless, the
gameplay is solid. Playing like a hybrid between Nintendo’s
impeccable “Super Smash Bros. Melee” and Capcom’s
own “Powerstone 2,” “Blade Warriors”
features fast and frenetic four-player battles. As is the goal in
almost every fighting game, the first fighter to deplete the
opponent’s energy bar wins. Yet the interactive arenas and
sound controls create a solid fighting experience.

The one-player game, a story mode, fails to deliver anything
innovative to a played-out genre. “Blade Warriors” is
meant to be played with three friends. However, its release as a
PS2 exclusive title hinders its accessibility because few gamers
actually own a Multitap, the device that lets four controllers
connect to the system. If Capcom wanted to tap the market for
multi-player games, then they should have made it available on
other consoles with four player capabilities.

No online play and little advancement to the genre hinder a
potentially solid fighting series. There is a dearth of this style
of games on the PS2, but “Blade Warriors” barely fills
the void. Avid gamers may enjoy some of the secrets found within
(i.e. the ability to unlock Megaman as a playable character), but
compared with its closest competition in the fighting realm,
“Blade Warriors” falls short. With “Onimusha
3” on the horizon, diehard fans can cling to this little
fighter to pass the time, but it’s nothing more than a
diversion.

Videogame Review: 2 out of 5 stars

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